The South Carolina GOP primary and the latest in the 2024 campaign

8:44 am ET, February 25, 2024

Here are some key takeaways from South Carolina's Republican primary

From CNN's Gregory Krieg and Eric Bradner

Former President Donald Trump attended a primary election dinner at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia on Saturday.

Andrew Hornick/AP

Donald Trump South Carolina has won the Republican presidential nomination, Nikki defeated Hayley On his home turf as he completed his sweep of early voting states.

The race now accelerates: The slow march through early voting states is over, and the primary is now national. By March 12, 56% of delegates to the Republican National Convention will be awarded. And in most states, Republican delegates are winner-take-all — meaning Haley has no credit for strong second-place showings. With Haley still undefeated, the bottom line — 1,215 delegates needed to clinch the nomination — See Trump in a few weeks.
Trump dominates the GOP establishment — again: It's unclear when he won the nomination in 2016, became president, ousted all but a select few Republican critics in office or the party, and then entered the 2024 race. Faces multiple charges: The GOP owns Donald Trump. Trump's victory in Haley's home state underscores how much has changed in less than a decade. As hostile as Trump has been to his rivals, it hasn't been a hostile takeover: Most Republican voters are all over Trump, and the parts of his personality that scare Republicans — as we've seen — are actually part of his appeal to a large majority of voters.
Where does Haley go from here? Haley had a short, but daunting path to seriously challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. It started with wins in New Hampshire and his home state. But the game-changing stretch of the Republican primary race is over. Following Saturday's planned loss, Haley's campaign announced that it would begin Sunday and swing through Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado and Utah, and that she is spending money. Super Tuesday ads targeting states. Whether he will actually pick up any wins and begin to seriously challenge Trump in delegate races is a tough question.
Nikki Haley arrives to speak with supporters after South Carolina's presidential election Saturday in Charleston.

Chris Carlson/AP

Not a big enough pro-Haley coalition in GOP primaries: Haley's campaign has General election opinion polls have been said for a long time A hypothetical matchup against Biden shows her in a much stronger position than Trump. But she cannot avoid the step of defeating Trump first. Haley has long had theoretical allies, including moderate Republicans, independents allowed to vote in Republican primaries in some states, and those turned off by Trump — especially suburban, college-educated voters who have left the party since Trump took office in 2016. But that coalition hasn't shown up primarily for Haley — at least not strong enough.

Tim Scott's Whipstakes Audition: The most important outcome of South Carolina's primary is Trump's 2024 GOP primary rival, Sen. Maybe a harmonious relationship with Tim Scott. The past few weeks may have served as Scott's audition for the vice presidential nomination. He campaigned with Trump, appeared with him in a Fox News town hall and other interviews, and persuaded Haley — who nominated him for the Senate seat when he was governor — to drop out of the race.

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